I work with many clients who are recent graduates. As we all know, the first full-time job is the hardest to land. You know what they say — you need work experience to get the job and you need the job to get work experience.
For recent grads who have prior internship experience or a relevant major in the field they want to get into, the search becomes a lot easier. However, the majority of new grads don’t have that direct experience and are just looking for a chance to get their foot in the door.
I often get the question, “Should I take a post-grad internship?” and it’s a topic that is often debated. While the answer depends on each individual situation, I am generally in favor of it.
A post-grad internship can actually help you accomplish your real goal, which is to land that first full-time job.
There are 3 major benefits to taking a post-grad internship that’s RELEVANT (that word is really key) to the type of role you want next.
1. Gain relevant experience
The thing that is generally holding new grads back is a lack of relevant experience. A post-grad internship can give you that in a few short months.
When recruiters are screening resumes for entry-level roles, they’re not expecting years and years of experience. What makes certain candidates stand out is a demonstrated interest in the field/function and some degree of relevant experience.
A few months on the job can make the difference between radio silence and a handful of interviews.
One important thing to emphasize here is that all experience is not equal. If you are taking on a post-grad internship, it must be completely relevant to the types of job you will be applying to next. Otherwise, it’s probably not a good use of your time and you’re better off continuing to search.
2. Flexibility to continue to search
If you commit to a full-time job and then duck out for interviews and give notice after 3 months, you are going to burn some serious bridges.
That’s generally not the case with post-grad internships. The people hiring you may ask for a short-term commitment, but ultimately they know you’ve already graduated and your goal to land a full-time gig is obvious.
Most companies will support you in your goals (or at least be understanding) and may even try to create a full-time role internally if you’re performing well.
If you come across a company that is offering you an internship but clearly doesn’t want you to continue your search, that’d be something to consider and might not be the right one to take.
3. Short term, big impact
The other reason I’m generally in favor of a post-grad internship is that it’s a few short months that can make a big impact. As soon as you start your internship, you can add it to your resume/LinkedIn and continue to apply to roles with that resume. If the internship experience is relevant, you may start to see an immediate positive impact on your search.
In the scheme of things, starting a full-time job a few months later because you’re building experience is not a big deal at all. If the internship can help you land you a job you are more excited about (or even one that pays more) it’s a small sacrifice for a big gain.
All in all, if you are presented with a post-grad internship (or even temporary role) that is relevant to the field you want to get into, flexible, and relatively short-term, it can be a really good move.
Have a question about post-grad internships? A personal experience to share? Leave us a comment!